[okfn-discuss] Stagnation in community concerns

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Fri Feb 6 10:12:06 UTC 2015

Hi Aaron,

Responding inline below.

On 5 February 2015 at 21:29, Aaron Wolf <wolftune at riseup.net> wrote:

> So, "See how data can change the world" is still an awful tag-line. It

has absolutely nothing to do with OK projects like the Public Domain
> Review. And so on and so on. Also, it was written with a gross lack of

First, for my part, I really welcome your continuing commitment to help
Open Knowledge get the best outcome here. It is deeply appreciated and it
makes a real difference.

Given your clear commitment I would like to offer one initial suggestion:
that in our discussion we demonstrate (what I assume is) our maximum good
faith and assume the commitment of all parties to get the best possible
outcome. This also entails using maximum courtesy, especially in email
communication which lacks so much of the additional cues available in other
forms of human interaction.

> community input. Today, it remains many months later on the homepage
> because once you just do something, even poorly and undemocratically, it
> is done and becomes the default. The burden is now on others to change it.

I'd encourage moving away from some conjectured "us vs them" thing (e.g.
"burden on others to change it"). We all want to work to get the best
outcome here and to reach agreement - even that is agreement to an outcome
that is not our preferred one but is one that moves the organisation
forward effectively.

That said, if it is useful to clarify, I shoulder full responsibility for
this tagline being there, and any feelings about the rights and wrongs of
the process leading to it.

At this point, let's move away from the past and focus on what we want to
do here to move this forward - more below.

Given a dramatic lack of consensus and serious concern about this stuff,
> I find it troubling that topic was basically discussed just enough that
> it was drawn out and then died down and no action was taken.

This is a great point Aaron and I take full responsibility here as I was
the one initiating that conversation and more should have been done to take
it to a conclusion (for the sake of context, the inaction from early July
onwards was due to the leadup and followup to Open Knowledge Festival - I'm
not seeking to excuse not taking this forward, simply to explain this was
not an intentional choice but an accidental by-product of other activities).

Because it does help inform us going forward, let me flag some of the
discussion from last June and especially:

https://lists.okfn.org/pipermail/okfn-discuss/2014-June/010435.html (and
(summary of input)

It remains the case that anyone who cares about something like the
> Public Domain Review would look at okfn.org and probably leave. The
> homepage clearly states that okfn.org is just about big data — which
> might as well be data relating to tracking everyone's behaviors for all
> a first look might interpret (rather than data from science and
> government stats).

For my part, there is definitely no intention for this to be about big data
(people know my views there!) and that is not how I interpret the front

I acknowledge there is a greater data focus in the tagline (and perhaps the
page overall) but that is not about it being about "big data" etc.

The work on the front page, as emphasized previously, was aiming to present
something that is simple, meaningful and understandable to a broader
audience outside of those already deeply interested and/or knowledgeable in
this area. Trying to encompass everything tends to result in a smorgasbord
effect which is neither very understandable of compelling - at least based
on expert input and general "guerialla" user testing.

> Yada yada yada. This was all discussed. If we can't get consensus on a
> better tag-line, how about NO tagline? Instead have a brief paragraph
> describing what the heck OK does actually or who it is? Actually, that
> stuff seems present if you just scroll down. So just DELETE that whole
> green useless section from the homepage. Oh, but please add something in
> the bottom section that covers the sort of cultural stuff that Public
> Domain Review does, since that's *still* absent (indicating OK's leaning
> toward disregarding those areas, which I hope isn't going to continue).

Acknowledge this clear suggestion - which I appreciate you also made last
June (though not with the additional detail). Personally, I do think the
"vision" statement is useful.

*However, given neither us are necessarily authorities on this I'd like to
get away from debate around our individual opinions and focus on whether
there is a suitable, simple process we could adopt here.*

*To make a concrete suggestion: we could form a (small) group who were
tasked with making a decision here - with the group made of up of some key
stakeholders such as representatives of local groups and working groups etc
(and who could consult as relevant with experts).*

All the best,

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